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5 Observations: Bobby Brink Scores 1st Two NHL Goals as Flyers Roll

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Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers
Right winger Travis Konecny gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead against Minnesota in the first period Thursday. Philly started a four-game homestand. Photo: AP.

Highlighted by Bobby Brink’s first NHL goal Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers remained perfect at home, defeating Minnesota, 6-2, to raise their record to 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Brink, 22, scored a pair of goals in his breakout party.

“I’ve probably been doing it for 22 years now,” Brink said when asked how long he has imagined scoring his first NHL goal. “It’s a pretty special moment. I’ve been thinking about it forever. A lot of stuff leading up to this moment. A lot of sacrifices from my parents and family and grandparents. It’s just a really special moment for me and my whole family.”

By the game’s midway point, Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier and Brink scored for the Flyers (4-2-1), who built a 3-0 lead and had a 21-5 shots domination in that span. It was impressive considering the team was coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in Vegas.

And then the sleepy Wild got a wake-up call.

Minnesota (3-3-1), regarded as a strong playoff contender, got to within 3-2 as defenseman Dakota Mermis and left winger Marcus Foligno scored 1:25 apart in the first 4:30 of the third period.

But it wasn’t enough. Owen Tippett, Brink, Cam Atkinson (three assists) and Travis Sanheim (goal, two assists, plus-3) made sure of that.

Here are five observations:

1. Owen Tippett picked the perfect time for his first goal of the season.

Tippett, who has been collecting lots of shots lately, finally broke through and the timing couldn’t have been better.

Taking a pass from Cam Atkinson, he scored on a breakaway by putting a shot to the short side and beating goalie Filip Gustavsson with 13:36 remaining in regulation.

The goal, which gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead, was badly needed because the Wild had seized the momentum with the two goals early in the third.

In a breakout year, Tippett had 27 goals last season.

2. Bobby Brink gets some surprising help.

It turned out all Brink needed to score his first NHL goal was an assist from … the referee.

Sean Couturier’s pass deflected off referee Chris Rooney’s skate and caromed to Brink in front of the net. The diminutive winger, a Minnesota native who grew up attending Wild games, knocked in a power-play goal to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead with 10:08 to go in the second period.

Brink later showed he doesn’t need a referee’s help. He took a slick feed from Joel Farabee and tapped in his second goal of the night, giving the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-2 lead with 8:58 left.

“Unbelievable pass,” Brink said. “I didn’t see any room there, and he fit it through, right on my tape.”

Sanheim later made it 6-2.

3. Sean Couturier snapped the Flyers’ long power-play drought.

In the second period, Couturier (two points) gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead as he  put in a rebound on a backhander with 12:32 left in the session, giving the Flyers their first five-on-four power-play goal of the season. Up to that point, their other PP goal was on a five-on-three.

About 2 1/2 minutes later, Brink added another five-on-four tally.

Overall, the Flyers’ power play was just 1 for 20 (5%) before Couturier and Brink struck. Brink even got a love tap to his helmet from his usually stoic coach, John Tortorella, as you can see below:

4. Travis Konecny continued his torrid pace.

With 6:03 remaining in the opening period, the 26-year-old right winger gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead when he rifled a high shot from the top of the left circle that eluded goalie Filip Gustavsson.

It was his team-leading sixth goal in seven games. The player they call “TK” is on a (drum roll, please) 70-goal pace. He scored a career-high 31 goals in 60 games last season. Over the last two seasons, he has 37 goals in 67 games.

Thursday was the Flyers’ first game since returning from a trip to Dallas and Las Vegas. Sometimes, the first game back can cause sluggishness.

“We actually touched on that before the game,’ Konecny said. ” … Even though we’re at home, coming back from a road trip like that and trying to settle in with the time changes and everything” can be difficult. “Kudos to our guys. We were just working hard.”

5. The Flyers’ “Minnesota Connection” was steady against their former team.

Nick Seeler and Louis Belpedio, partners on the third defensive pairing, played well in their first game together with the Flyers.

Seeler set up Konecny’s goal, and Belpedio played solidly after being recalled from Lehigh Valley earlier in the day and playing his first game with the Flyers. Both were plus-1 in the game. Seeler had four blocks, and Belpedio had two.

Breakaways

The Flyers’ penalty kill went 2 for 2 and is 13 for 13 in the last five games. … Morgan Frost was benched for the fifth straight game; the Flyers are 3-1-1 without Frost in the lineup. … The Flyers host Anaheim on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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